As promised, “Gotham” kicked the crazy factor up a notch or 10 in the Season Three premiere.
“Mad City: Better to Reign in Hell” saw police officer-turned-bounty hunter Jim Gordon take some serious lumps attempting to round up Fish and her Indian Hill cronies, and he wasn’t the only interested party in these modern-day Frankensteins. News reporter Valerie Vale arrived on the scene, hungry for a scoop, and then Oswald Cobblepot interrupted a press conference to demand their capture. Meanwhile, new club owners Tabitha and Barbara proved they hadn’t lost their psychotic touch. As for Bruce Wayne, the young billionaire’s bold move against the Court of Owls landed him in deep trouble.
CBR spoke with “Gotham” executive producer Ken Woodruff about the season premiere and how the Indian Hill escapees have begun to rattle the besieged city. Woodruff discussed a heartbroken Jim Gordon, reinventing Poison Ivy, the coming of the Mad Hatter and Bruce’s dilemma.
CBR: Jim quit the police force and is acting like a bounty hunter. Has he hit rock bottom, or is this a new lease on life?
Ken Woodruff: No, it’s definitely rock bottom. He’s not wallowing in his own misery. He’s not some sad sack. He’s in a lot of pain and in a bad place. The way that manifests itself for Jim is recklessness. He has nothing to live for, so he’s not quite as scared. He’s running head-on into dangerous situations or putting his life at risk.
We talked about the character in “The Hurt Locker,” who was willing to take chances that no one else would; it’s not a sappy, mopey Eeyore character. He’s much more active, lively and scary. There’s a badass quality to him where he can operate a little bit outside the law because he’s not sworn to protect it or uphold it. Gordon is former military. A lot of people will tell you that you just have to adapt to the circumstances. That’s what he’s doing. If he’s going to go out and fight monsters, he might have to step up his game.
Valerie Vale gets flirty with Jim, but how is she pushing his buttons at the same time?
What was really important to us is, Valerie is the kind of character that will get the better of Jim. She definitely gets the better of him in the second episode. He handcuffed her to a car, [and] she’s not the kind of woman who is going to let that fly. She’s going to get back at him, but she’s going to do so in a very smart, clever way. It’s much more two alphas going toe to toe. She can dish it out.
At the end of the episode, Selina believes Ivy is dead. What kind of ramifications will that guilt have?
Deep down, Selena will find that guilt, but she’s such a hardened character. By living on the streets, she’s been forced to learn to handle death in that cat-aloof way. I imagine someone falling. You get hurt at home, or you have a heart attack. Your dog is going to run over and whimper, but your cat is just going to stare at you and wait until they eat the food that you wouldn’t give them last night. Selina is a real character, but she does everything she can to hide those emotions. Yes, she feels bad, but she has to move on real quick, otherwise the streets are going to eat her up.
What was the thought process behind aging Ivy this season?
One of the character’s biggest skills or powers is the power of seduction. In order for Ivy to exist and be a threat to most of our characters — Gordon, Bullock, Captain Barnes and all the villains — she needed to be older in order to exploit that power. No one felt comfortable having a 15-year-old seduce grown men. It was weird.
The other thing was, it’s not just a physical change. We’re leaning into an emotional change as well. Something happened to her. It wasn’t that she got aged-up. Something in the wiring and the DNA changed as well. It’s not the same Ivy. It’s a little more dangerous for Selina, because she thinks she can trust this person down the road — but can she? Ivy is much more of a villain now.
One highlight was Oswald visiting Nygma in Arkham Asylum. How are the two continuing to feed off of each other?
Penguin realizes the need for a good man like Nygma. He’s indispensable. He’s smart, and he’s trustworthy. On the flip side, Penguin taught Nygma how to be a villain. Penguin is Nygma’s origin story in a lot of ways, in terms of being a villain. Penguin is his mentor. Nygma needs him in not only an emotional way — they have a find friendship and a real trust — but Nygma is in Arkham, and he’s locked up. He needs some help if he’s ever going to get out.
Bruce makes some big moves to out the Court of Owls. How in over his head is he?
He’s very over his head. It gets him in a lot of trouble at the end of the episode. Bruce, even though he’s a teenager, he is quite an accomplished, capable young man. He also has an incredible ally in Alfred. Bruce has an advisor, someone who could help him. A lot of thought went into his moves, even if it doesn’t look like it at the end of the first episode. It will be revealed that he thought this through, and Bruce has a plan.
We also saw that Oswald has become obsessed with finding Fish. What can you tease about that inevitable confrontation?
That’s my favorite scene in the second episode. It’s inevitable — they have to collide. When they do, there is so much emotion and back story between these two. One of the things I can tell you is, Penguin was really haunted by that night on the bridge. Penguin is a very calculated guy, he always knows the angles. The last thing he ever expected from Fish was for her to let him go and let him live. Yet, that’s exactly what she did. That question of “why” has been haunting him. And, a lot of people Penguin had including his family and people he was close to — Nygma is in Arkham and his parents are dead — so, in a weird way, Fish was a mother figure to him. He worked for her. There’s a certain affinity between the two of them and it plays out in the next episode.
Lastly, what, to you, is most fun about Butch crushing over Tabitha? How will that continue throughout the season?
It’s sort of like Looney Tunes with Pepe Le Pew, where he chases her and chases her. Tabitha is very non-committal and aloof. Yeah, she’ll put up with him this week, but you get the sense it’s a really one-sided love. We’re going to test that. I just read a script for an episode in the first half of the season where those questions — Does Tabitha even love Butch? Does she have any feelings for him? What’s Butch willing to do to save Tabitha’s life, and vice versa? — will be put to the test. It’s a lot of fun in the beginning, until we ramp up to that moment in their story.
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